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  1. Abstract

    Microlensing events have historically been discovered throughout the Galactic bulge and plane by surveys designed solely for that purpose. We conduct the first multiyear search for microlensing events on the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF), an all-sky optical synoptic survey that observes the entire visible northern sky every few nights. We discover 60 high-quality microlensing events in the 3 yr of ZTF-I using the bulk lightcurves in the ZTF Public Data Release 5.19 of our events are found outside of the Galactic plane (∣b∣ ≥ 10°), nearly doubling the number of previously discovered events in the stellar halo from surveys pointed toward the Magellanic Clouds and the Andromeda galaxy. We also record 1558 ongoing candidate events as potential microlensing that can continue to be observed by ZTF-II for identification. The scalable and computationally efficient methods developed in this work can be applied to future synoptic surveys, such as the Vera C. Rubin Observatory’s Legacy Survey of Space and Time and the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope, as they attempt to find microlensing events in even larger and deeper data sets.

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  2. Abstract The detonation of a thin (≲0.03 M ⊙ ) helium shell (He-shell) atop a ∼1 M ⊙ white dwarf (WD) is a promising mechanism to explain normal Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia), while thicker He-shells and less massive WDs may explain some recently observed peculiar SNe Ia. We present observations of SN 2020jgb, a peculiar SN Ia discovered by the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF). Near maximum brightness, SN 2020jgb is slightly subluminous (ZTF g -band absolute magnitude −18.7 mag ≲ M g ≲ −18.2 mag depending on the amount of host-galaxy extinction) and shows an unusually red color (0.2 mag ≲ g ZTF − r ZTF ≲ 0.4 mag) due to strong line-blanketing blueward of ∼5000 Å. These properties resemble those of SN 2018byg, a peculiar SN Ia consistent with an He-shell double detonation (DDet) SN. Using detailed radiative transfer models, we show that the optical spectroscopic and photometric evolution of SN 2020jgb is broadly consistent with a ∼0.95–1.00 M ⊙ (C/O core + He-shell) progenitor ignited by a ≳0.1 M ⊙ He-shell. However, one-dimensional radiative transfer models without non-local-thermodynamic-equilibrium treatment cannot accurately characterize the line-blanketing features, making the actual shell mass uncertain. We detect a prominent absorption feature at ∼1 μ m in the near-infrared (NIR) spectrum of SN 2020jgb, which might originate from unburnt helium in the outermost ejecta. While the sample size is limited, we find similar 1 μ m features in all the peculiar He-shell DDet candidates with NIR spectra obtained to date. SN 2020jgb is also the first peculiar He-shell DDet SN discovered in a star-forming dwarf galaxy, indisputably showing that He-shell DDet SNe occur in both star-forming and passive galaxies, consistent with the normal SN Ia population. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2024
  3. Abstract While it is difficult to observe the first black hole seeds in the early universe, we can study intermediate-mass black holes (IMBHs) in local dwarf galaxies for clues about their origins. In this paper we present a sample of variability-selected active galactic nuclei (AGN) in dwarf galaxies using optical photometry from the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) and forward-modeled mid-IR photometry of time-resolved Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) co-added images. We found that 44 out of 25,714 dwarf galaxies had optically variable AGN candidates and 148 out of 79,879 dwarf galaxies had mid-IR variable AGN candidates, corresponding to active fractions of 0.17% ± 0.03% and 0.19% ± 0.02%, respectively. We found that spectroscopic approaches to AGN identification would have missed 81% of our ZTF IMBH candidates and 69% of our WISE IMBH candidates. Only nine candidates have been detected previously in radio, X-ray, and variability searches for dwarf galaxy AGN. The ZTF and WISE dwarf galaxy AGN with broad Balmer lines have virial masses of 10 5 M ⊙ < M BH < 10 7 M ⊙ , but for the rest of the sample, BH masses predicted from host galaxy mass range between 10 5.2 M ⊙ < M BH < 10 7.25 M ⊙ . We found that only 5 of 152 previously reported variability-selected AGN candidates from the Palomar Transient Factory in common with our parent sample were variable in ZTF. We also determined a nuclear supernova fraction of 0.05% ± 0.01% yr −1 for dwarf galaxies in ZTF. Our ZTF and WISE IMBH candidates show the promise of variability searches for the discovery of otherwise hidden low-mass AGN. 
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    This paper presents a new optical imaging survey of four deep drilling fields (DDFs), two Galactic and two extragalactic, with the Dark Energy Camera (DECam) on the 4-m Blanco telescope at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO). During the first year of observations in 2021, >4000 images covering 21 deg2 (seven DECam pointings), with ∼40 epochs (nights) per field and 5 to 6 images per night per filter in g, r, i, and/or z have become publicly available (the proprietary period for this program is waived). We describe the real-time difference-image pipeline and how alerts are distributed to brokers via the same distribution system as the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF). In this paper, we focus on the two extragalactic deep fields (COSMOS and ELAIS-S1) characterizing the detected sources, and demonstrating that the survey design is effective for probing the discovery space of faint and fast variable and transient sources. We describe and make publicly available 4413 calibrated light curves based on difference-image detection photometry of transients and variables in the extragalactic fields. We also present preliminary scientific analysis regarding the Solar system small bodies, stellar flares and variables, Galactic anomaly detection, fast-rising transients and variables, supernovae, and active Galactic nuclei.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 9, 2024
  5. Abstract

    1991T-like supernovae are the luminous, slow-declining extreme of the Branch shallow-silicon (SS) subclass of Type Ia supernovae. They are distinguished by extremely weak CaiiH & K and Siiiλ6355 and strong Feiiiabsorption features in their optical spectra at pre-maximum phases, and have long been suspected to be over-luminous compared to normal Type Ia supernovae. In this paper, the pseudo-equivalent width of the Siiiλ6355 absorption obtained at light curve phases from ≤ +10 days is combined with the morphology of thei-band light curve to identify a sample of 1991T-like supernovae in the Carnegie Supernova Project II. Hubble diagram residuals show that, at optical as well as near-infrared wavelengths, these events are over-luminous by ∼0.1–0.5 mag with respect to the less extreme Branch SS (1999aa-like) and Branch core-normal supernovae with similarB-band light-curve decline rates.

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  7. Abstract

    SN 2018aoz is a Type Ia SN with aB-band plateau and excess emission in infant-phase light curves ≲1 day after the first light, evidencing an over-density of surface iron-peak elements as shown in our previous study. Here, we advance the constraints on the nature and origin of SN 2018aoz based on its evolution until the nebular phase. Near-peak spectroscopic features show that the SN is intermediate between two subtypes of normal Type Ia: core normal and broad line. The excess emission may be attributable to the radioactive decay of surface iron-peak elements as well as the interaction of ejecta with either the binary companion or a small torus of circumstellar material. Nebular-phase limits on Hαand Heifavor a white dwarf companion, consistent with the small companion size constrained by the low early SN luminosity, while the absence of [Oi] and Heidisfavors a violent merger of the progenitor. Of the two main explosion mechanisms proposed to explain the distribution of surface iron-peak elements in SN 2018aoz, the asymmetric Chandrasekhar-mass explosion is less consistent with the progenitor constraints and the observed blueshifts of nebular-phase [Feii] and [Niii]. The helium-shell double-detonation explosion is compatible with the observed lack of C spectral features, but current 1D models are incompatible with the infant-phase excess emission,BmaxVmaxcolor, and weak strength of nebular-phase [Caii]. Although the explosion processes of SN 2018aoz still need to be more precisely understood, the same processes could produce a significant fraction of Type Ia SNe that appear to be normal after ∼1 day.

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  8. null (Ed.)